Kosovo has asked US President Joe Biden to support its NATO accession process, fearing threats to its sovereignty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
In a letter to Biden on Thursday, Kosovo President Vyusa Osmani warned against Moscow’s efforts to “destabilize” the Balkans.
“Kosovo’s membership in NATO has become necessary,” Osmani wrote.
“We express our hope and expectation that the United States will use its leadership and influence to actively support and advance the complex process of Kosovo’s accession to NATO,” he said.
The letter was sent to the White House last week.
Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti also called for boosting the process of accession to the European Union and NATO, saying “Russian invasion of Ukraine means that the two institutions should facilitate and speed up the entry of candidates.”
Kurti said that with the outbreak of new conflicts, “the Western Balkans in general and Kosovo in particular are in danger.”
Moscow has been a staunch opponent of Kosovo since the 1990s war, when security forces from Russia’s ally Serbia were driven out of the province with the help of NATO airstrikes.
Kosovar Albanians, who form an ethnic majority in the region, declared independence from Serbia in 2008, in a move that several countries, including Russia and Ukraine, refused to recognize.
Russia has a veto in the UN Security Council, which helped stop official recognition of Kosovo.
Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Kosovo also imposed sanctions on Moscow.
He promised to receive thousands of Ukrainian refugees and allocate aid to the Ukrainian people.